Page images
PDF
EPUB

No worldly wave my mind can toss,

I brooks that is another's bane. I fear no foe, nor fawn on friend,

I loathe not life, nor dread mine end. I joy not in an earthly bliss;

I weigh not Croesus'5 wealth a straw; For care,

I care not what it is;
I fear not fortune's fatal law.
My mind is such as may not move

For beauty bright or force of love.
I wish but what I have at will ; 6

I wander not to seek for more; I like the plain, I climb no hill;

In greatest storms I sit on shore, And laugh at them that toil in vain

To get what must be lost again. I kiss not where I wish to kill ;

I feign not love where most I hate; I break no sleep to win my will ;

I wait not at the mighty's gate; I scorn no poor, I fear no rich,

I feel no want, nor have too much. This is my choice ; for why?-I find

No wealth is like a quiet mind.

3 brook, bear.
* bane, a thing regarded as most

injurious, or which really is so.

. Crcesus, an ancient King of Lydia,

of fabulous wealth. 6 I wish only what I can have if I

choose,

36

THE COUNTRYMAN.

UNKNOWN.

What pleasures have great princes

More dainty to their choice,
Than herdsmen wild, who careless

In quiet life rejoice;
And fortune's favours scorning,
Sing sweet in summer morning.
All day their flocks each tendeth;

At night they take their rest;
More quiet than who sendeth

His ship into the east,
Where gold and pearl are plenty,
But getting very dainty.
For lawyers and their pleading,

They 'steem it not a straw :-
They think that honest meaning

Is of itself a law :
Where conscience judgeth plainly,
They spend no money vainly.
O happy who thus liveth,

Not caring much for gold;
With clothing, which sufficeth

To keep him from the cold :Though poor and plain his diet, Yet merry it is and quiet.

a

dainty, but getting either is not easy-from distance, &c.

- 37

JOHN MILTON.-Born, 1608; Died, 1674. Milton ranks next after Shakspeare among English poets. His “ Paradise Lost” is his greatest poem. He was Latin secretary to Cromwell.

HYMN ON THE NATIVITY.

1

It was the winter wild,
While the heaven-born child

All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature, in awe of him,
Had doffed her gaudy trim,

With her great Master so to sympathise :
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.?
Only with speeches fair
She woos the gentle air,

To hide her guilty front with innocent snow ;
And on her naked shame,
Pollute with sinful blame,

The saintly veil of maiden-white to throw;
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.
But he, her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;

She, crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding Down through the turning sphere,

1 gaudy trim, summer glory.

paramour, lover. 3 pollute, for polluted.

4 turning sphere, the revolving

heavens.

2

5

His ready harbinger,

With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing;
And, waving wide her myrtle wand,
She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.6
No war or battle's sound
Was heard the world around :

The idle spear and shield were high up hung;
The hooked chariot? stood
Unstain’d with hostile blood;

The trumpet spake not to the armed throng ;
And kings sat still with awe-full eye,
As if they surely knew their sov'reign lord was by.

8

But peaceful was the night,
Wherein the Prince of Light

His reign of peace upon the earth began :
The winds, with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kiss'd,

Whispering new joys to the mild Ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.

The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze,

Bending one way their precious influence;
And will not take their flight,
For allo the morning light,

Or Lucifer, 10 had often warn'd them thence;

5 harbinger, herald.
6 There was peace over the earth (the

Roman Empire) when Christ was
born.

? chariots had hooked knives pro

jecting from their wheels. 8 Hushed. 9 For all, though. 10 Lucifer, the morning star.

[ocr errors]

But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord Himself bespake, and bid them go.
And though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,"

The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame,
As his inferior flame

The new-enlighten'd world no more should need;
He saw a greater sun appear
Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, could bear.
The shepherds on the lawn,
Or ere the point of dawn,

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
Full little thought they then
That the mighty Pan12

Was kindly come to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.
When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,

As never was by mortal fingers strook,13
Divinely-warbled voice
Answering the stringéd noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took:
The air, such pleasure loath to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly

close. 14

I Had retired.
12 Pan, lit., “The all;" here, for the

ideal heathen god of antiquity.
Pan was the name of the god of

shepherds and flocks, but it became at a later time the symbol

of the universe and of its Lord. struck 14 close, period, or bar

« PreviousContinue »